Keele University is proud of its environmental credentials, offering a range of quality courses in sustainability and natural sciences, and having accreditation as a Fair Trade university to boot. Tonight though, we headed over to the Sustainability Hub for a talk about sustainability in construction.
Construction is always needed to replace old buildings, provide housing for the growing population and to provide functional buildings for businesses. The seminar, presented by John Mosesson, discussed some of the reasons for implementing more sustainable techniques and the use of green building materials in the construction industry and raised some interesting questions.
One point John, Director of The Green Partitioning Company LTD and the Chairman of Stramit International, made was about the reasons for buildings being greener expanding beyond purely to reduce their environmental impact. He mentioned the importance of utilising green building materials to create healthier buildings that don’t impact negatively on the health of people living and working in them. Further food for thought came with additional points about employers being prepared to pay the additional 5-10% cost – which is a far cry from the supposed 30-40% that many people perceive to be the case – for the higher rates of productivity that a healthier and happier workforce can provide.
Another question that was raised was surrounding how the problems of bringing sustainable building materials rather than relying on bricks, tiles, concrete and steel could be resolved. Mosesson suggested a more stringent regulation of new buildings, enforcing integration of a minimum percentage of green building materials, which we believe would be a great concept. His concerns that too much money and funding exists for the non-green building material industries is, in his opinion, a major reason why this isn’t happening at the moment.
With many independent self builders choosing timber frames, straw bale structures and lime render finishes, it begs the question why larger scale construction can’t learn something from the amateurs. These building techniques have been used for hundreds of years, with properties built from timber and cob lasting as long as, or even outlasting, more modern methods. Perhaps John’s suggestions should be pushed forward and pursued, or even built on to integrate renewable energy technology, passive house principles and more green and outdoor space to enable growing of food for healthier families and a greener way of life across the UK.